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Box Office: ‘Oz’ on Track for $80 Million Opening

Prequel tentpole should calm nerves for fantasy redo subgenre

Though the sky’s not the limit, the opening weekend gross for “Oz the Great and Powerful” is certainly over the rainbow. Disney’s fantasy prequel earned $24.1 million Friday, and is looking at a three-day take close to $80 million.

This is great news for the Mouse after last weekend’s domestically disappointing “Jack the Giant Slayer” from Warner Bros. cast a cloud of doubt over fantasy retools — this is key, as several studios have irons in that fire — and one year after Disney’s own “John Carter” raised questions over March as solid ground for tentpoles to begin with.

“Jack,” directly competing on demos with “Oz,” earned $2.5 million Friday. Warner Bros.’ pic is expected to fall upwards of 60% for a weekend haul just north of $10 million.

Opening day-and-date in almost every int’l market, “Oz” is also looking at first place overseas as well. In fact, tracking on the film was so promising Disney began planning a sequel to the prequel even before its Friday bow.

Counterprogramming “Oz,” FilmDistrict unspooled “Dead Man Down” Friday for third place with $1.8 million after “Jack the Giant Slayer.” Actioner is looking at a three-day haul around $5 million, which will push it down to fifth place by Sunday’s end.

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